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Expert opinion: 7 top tips for securing a rented home

How do you land a rental home in a super crowded market? Estate agent James Evans reveals his top tips for finding and securing the rental home you want.

Guest Author
Words by: Matilda Battersby


The average cost of a rental home is now almost £1,000 a month across the UK.

It's risen by 11% over the last year, driven by a shortage of properties to rent at a time when demand in city centres is soaring.

See what's happening in the rental market with our latest Rental Market Report.

With so many people looking for a rental, it really helps to be super organised.

You want to be in a position pounce as soon as the right rental becomes available.

James Evans, CEO at Douglas & Gordon, gives his top tips to help renters secure a new home.

James Evans an estate agent at Douglas & Gordon stands in front of an exposed brickwork wall with a bicycle and D&G logo

1. Start your search early

"Most rental homes have a 2 month notice period,' says James.

"That means new homes for rent are generally available 2 months after they're first advertised.

"If you leave it too late, you might miss out or you may even have to find temporary accommodation if your current tenancy is coming to an end."

Looking for a new rental home?

Search for a new rental home by location, price, number of bedrooms and more.

2. Keep talking to a letting agent

Building a good relationship with a letting agent can give you a big advantage when searching for a rental home.

Remember, it's in their interest to find a good tenant for a home they're letting.

"Register with an estate agent and keep them updated with what you’re looking for," says James.

"Don’t just look online. If an estate agent knows you’re looking, chances are they will call you before a property is listed."

Find a letting agent near you.

3. Think beyond one fixed location

You might love your current location, or need to be close to work.

But keeping an open mind when it comes to location can help you secure a new rental home faster. It might turn out to be cheaper, too.

"We all know location is important," says James.

"But when you're renting, it can help to be open to different areas. This will give you much more choice."

Draw a map to search for rental properties in the locations you like.

Or search by travel time to make sure potential homes will be close enough to what's important to you.

4. Act fast

Hesitating when you find the best property you've seen in weeks could cost you your dream rental.

With the current rental market, you need to contact the agent as soon as possible.

"Be available to view properties as soon as you see them and be ready to put an offer in straightaway," says James.

Register and set up email alerts to be the first to know about new rentals near you.

5. Be flexible with the contract

If you're in with a chance to secure a property, be as flexible as you can with your terms.

Being positive and flexible with the landlord's preferences can help you secure the rental.

"Don’t have too many conditions involved in your offer," he adds.

"There can be several offers on the table for a rental home, so you want to make yourselves seem like the most attractive renters."

Plus, if you get the tenancy, it'll set you and your landlord off on the right foot.

6. Consider signing a longer contract

"The longer you can lock in a tenancy agreement for, the better it is for your landlord.

"Securing a tenancy of two years or longer means more security for both you and your landlord," says James.

"You'll know what your rent will be for a longer period of time and your landlord knows their property will be occupied for longer too."

7. Have your documents ready to go

"Bring your passports along on viewings so your Right to Rent checks can be done there and then if you decide to secure the home," he says.

Check if the recent changes to Right to Rent checks will impact you.

What's happening to rents in 2022?

The cost of renting a home has reached nearly £1,000 a month as rents rise at their fastest pace for 14 years.

The jump in price is down to more people needing a place to rent than the number of properties available.

This is especially the case in city centres as students, office workers and international buyers make their return after the pandemic.

But the rental market remains highly localised. Your location might still be fairly affordable, particularly if you live in a rural area of the UK.

Get the lowdown on the rental market with our latest Rental Market Report.

Get ahead of the crowd with email alerts

Register and set up email alerts to be the first to know about new rental properties in your area.

We'll ping you as soon as a property that matches your needs comes onto the market.

We try to make sure that the information here is accurate at the time of publishing. But the property market moves fast and some information may now be out of date. Zoopla Property Group accepts no responsibility or liability for any decisions you make based on the information provided.